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PracticePanther Legal Software

PracticePanther Legal Software is a legal management solution for small to large practices specializing in areas including bankruptcy, personal injury, family, divorce, estate planning, litigation, criminal law and many more. The ...Read more about PracticePanther Legal Software

4.7 (507 reviews)

344 recommendations

Clio

Ranked #1, Clio is the leading law practice management software used by over 150,000 lawyers and with the most 5-star reviews. The only legal software with 1,500+ reviews on Capterra. Lawyers can access and manage their work in ...Read more about Clio

4.7 (1605 reviews)

314 recommendations

MyCase

MyCase is a cloud-based legal management solution that helps attorneys in small to medium size law firms manage communications with their clients and carry out daily business operations. The solution also provides functionalities ...Read more about MyCase

4.7 (689 reviews)

105 recommendations

CARET Legal

CARET Legal is the leading solution for legal professionals to manage their practice and create space for what matters, including delighting clients and maximizing billable time. From client intake, to matter management, to bac...Read more about CARET Legal

4.5 (131 reviews)

31 recommendations

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Smokeball

Since 2012, Smokeball has evolved into a global practice management powerhouse with smaller firms in mind across the US, UK, and Australia. With a commitment to transforming legal practices through innovation, Smokeball's all-in-o...Read more about Smokeball

4.8 (256 reviews)

24 recommendations

CASEpeer

CASEpeer is the leading practice management solution built for personal injury law firms. Designed with input from leading plaintiffs’ law firms, CASEpeer provides industry-leading best practices and support. Supercharge your l...Read more about CASEpeer

4.8 (182 reviews)

9 recommendations

Litify

Litify was selected as the 2022 Practice Management Solution Provider of the Year. Learn more: https://www.litify.com/blog/litify-selected-2022-practice-management-solution-of-year/ Litify is the end-to-end legal operating platfo...Read more about Litify

4.5 (57 reviews)

9 recommendations

CloudLex

About CloudLex: CloudLex® is a personal injury case management software developed exclusively for personal injury law firms that lets them take control of their practice from intake through closure and beyond with one comprehensi...Read more about CloudLex

4.9 (47 reviews)

6 recommendations

SmartAdvocate

The concept for SmartAdvocate was first created by a national plaintiff’s personal injury law firm. In their search for a software product to help resolve many of their specific case management challenges, they realized there were...Read more about SmartAdvocate

4.8 (103 reviews)

4 recommendations

Curo365

Built on the most powerful cloud-based solution, Curo365 resides on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform built specifically for law firms and integrates with your existing Microsoft Office 365 applications. The only singular soluti...Read more about Curo365

4.5 (15 reviews)

4 recommendations

Logikcull

Today, data is no longer information, but noise. In fact, 97% of all data that gets swept up in disputes and investigations is completely irrelevant. And that noise is making discovery an expensive, complex, and insecure nightmare...Read more about Logikcull

4.6 (272 reviews)

3 recommendations

LawToolBox

Are you still manually calculating & calendaring legal deadlines? Make your work easier with a court date calculator inside Outlook and Teams. Find out why Microsoft awarded us "Best Integration" for Office 365. Save time, reduce...Read more about LawToolBox

4.2 (52 reviews)

2 recommendations

backdocket

backdocket is a legal case and document management solution that helps law firms streamline processes related to task tracking, event scheduling, approval monitoring, and more from within a unified platform. It allows team members...Read more about backdocket

5.0 (10 reviews)

2 recommendations

Jotform

Jotform is a cloud-based form automation solution that enables users to publish online forms and record customer responses. It helps users to generate leads, collect order payments, conduct customer surveys, manage job application...Read more about Jotform

SignWell

SignWell is a cloud-based electronic signature solution that caters to various services such as legal, education, HR, sales automation, IT, and more. Key features include document workflows, built-in templates, document tracking a...Read more about SignWell

TimeSolv Legal Billing

TimeSolv is a cloud-based legal time tracking and billing solution that caters to law firms, accountants, consultants, architects, and freelancers, helping them manage daily business operations. TimeSolv integrates project ma...Read more about TimeSolv Legal Billing

Process Street

Process Street is the world's first Process Management Platform powered by AI. We help teams share their core processes, then transform them into powerful no-code workflows. Start with employee onboarding to set up new hires for ...Read more about Process Street

PDFelement

Wondershare PDFelement is a one-stop PDF solution powered by AI. Fast, smart, affordable, and easy way to manage (.pdf) documents across desktop, mobile, and web. It provides a great user experience and is an excellent alternativ...Read more about PDFelement

AbacusLaw

AbacusLaw is case automation software designed explicitly for law firms. The system works as a complete practice management solution that helps in managing workflows including time tracking, billing, and accounting operations. Aba...Read more about AbacusLaw

CosmoLex

CosmoLex is a cloud-based legal management solution that offers features including time tracking, billing, trust accounting, task and document management. The solution connects all modules so that users do not have to enter inform...Read more about CosmoLex

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: November 21, 2023

Law firms face unique document management challenges. Largest among them: the very high quantity of paper documents legal practices use. Legal documents are also subject to varying confidentiality and privacy regulations, which mandate how these documents can be accessed, stored, changed and distributed.

Within the broad genre of content management software (CMS) is a category that addresses the specific challenges law firms face: legal document management software. To help your law firm better understand this software and make a more informed purchase decision, we'll cover the following:

What is legal document management software?

It is a form of document management software made specifically for lawyers, law firms, or any entity operating in the field of law. It is distinct from legal practice management software, which has a broader set of functionality, including tools to keep the firm's internal processes and external filings on time and on track.

Legal document management software is intended to help firms achieve a variety of goals. Speaking broadly, these goals include:

  • Increasing productivity by making documents easier to find, search, access, and share.

  • Improving the security and confidentiality of important documents by preventing unauthorized access.

  • Adding consistency to internal and external documents by managing all of them through a common platform.

Common functionality of legal document management software

To achieve the above-listed goals, software products will include some or all of the following features and tools:

Document capture tools

Scan paper documents and convert them into digital files, including image files, PDFs, and text files.

PDF tools

PDF is the file format of choice for most legal document management systems: PDF tools help create, edit, manage, and add signatures to such files.

Advanced search

Helps users find documents quickly by looking for specific text strings within documents and by filtering with metadata.

Access control

Controls who can access, change, and distribute digital documents. Keeps logs of access activities and summarizes them in reports.

Organizational tools

Automates the documentation and management of cases, including approvals, role permissions, and other necessary steps.

Version control

Ensures that changes to documents do not delete older versions, preserving them in case they need to be used again.

Integration tools

Incorporate document management functionalities directly into other software tools, such as email clients, CRM systems, and court filing systems.

Some specialized software may also include, or integrate with, electronic signature functionality, which facilitates the legally-binding signing of documents on computers or mobile devices.

Key considerations

Here are some key points to keep in mind during your search for a legal document management system:

Data security: Along with health and financial information, legal information is subject to some of the strictest regulatory oversight, and its management can be subject to local, state, and federal statutes. Protecting digital information from theft and unauthorized access should be the primary concern for law firms considering implementation of a document management system.

Legal document management platforms increase data security in a number of ways. Many make use of a centralized portal through which all access to the system is controlled. Others use two-step authentication methods to ensure that new logins have been authenticated through two different means (e.g., email, phone, or text message).

Extent of digitization: When implementing legal document management software, many law offices mistakenly believe that all existing and future paper documents will be converted to digital. This incorrect assumption can lead to problems and delays down the line.

As suggested by the American Bar Association, law offices should use document management systems to increase the number of "low paper workflows." Working toward an entirely "paperless office" can be practical in some industries, but because of the sheer volume of paper documents involved, this is an impractical goal for law firms. Instead, firms should identify which processes stand to gain the most from digitization, and began with the documents associated with those.

Pricing and purchasing options

Cloud-based products are typically sold via subscription license, meaning law firms would pay a recurring fee to use the software. Subscription licenses are commonly priced per user per month (some vendors offer discounts for annual contracts). This fee includes the cost for support, maintenance, annual updates, and hosting.

Hosting on the vendor's servers means that law firms won't incur the IT costs associated with maintaining legal files on their own internal servers. As such, cloud-based software generally is less expensive upfront, although over time the costs of on-premise and cloud-based systems may converge.

Due to data security requirements, law firms should make certain that any cloud-based system they consider offers encryption services, bank-grade security, and frequent data backups to ensure the safety and confidentiality of their clients' legal documents.

On-premise solutions are most-often sold via perpetual license, meaning law offices pay an upfront fee to own the software. Firms would also be responsible for the costs associated with maintaining client data on their own internal servers, a responsibility that would likely necessitate on-site IT staff.

Additionally, law firms can purchase document management software as a standalone, or best-of-breed solution, or as an application within a larger practice management platform. Firms purchasing a standalone system should check that the product integrates with the other software they are currently using, such as their case management solution or legal accounting system.